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Brandon Spikes homophobic tweet causes stir, but Patriots player says 'It's a joke'

New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes should've seen the fumble coming when he sent out a homophobic tweet likening homophobia to arachnophobia. After causing quite a stir, Spike excused himself by simply saying, "It's a joke."

On Wednesday, Spikes compared his fear of gays to a fear of spiders.

Spikes then receievd a slew of criticism from those who said his comments were insensitive and served as a bad example for children who look up to him.

"Gay jokes, how clever...remember you are a rode model for kids around the world. October is also anti-bullying month," tweeted one user. "Your homophobic jokes make me as a New England Patriots fan for most of my life ashamed. I hope the Patriots suspend you," responded another. "Gotta hand it to @BrandonSpikes55 for crafting a tweet that makes him sound simultaneously like a tough guy homophobe AND a complete weenie," wrote another.

Spikes, who was recently fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness during a game, retweeted many of the messages sent to him, snapping at some of his critics with responses like "Bite Me !!!," "#Blocked" and "feel special now?"

Eventually, though, he relented.

But as Boston.com notes, Spike's tweets tend to be vulgar and sensational. Last month, his comparison of NFL replacement refs to Foot Locker employees even made headlines.

Gay rights issues in professional sports have a decided dichotomy.

Some players disappoint, such as Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, who wore eye-black inscribed with a homophobic slur written in Spanish, which translated to "You are a faggot." He was later suspended.

Others have tried to fight for equality. Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo, for example, is a champion of gay marriage rights.

Maryland legalized gay marriage earlier this year, but some did not approve of Ayanbadejo using his platform to support the issue. Ayanbadejo recently went up against local pastor and state house of delegates-member Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D-Baltimore County) when Burns tried to silence him, Yahoo! Sports reported.

Ayanbadejo has estimated that 70 percent of NFL players support same-sex marriage, ESPN notes.

To read the original story or to visit HuffPost Gay Voices, a content partner with SDGLN, click HERE.